Monday, April 15, 2024

The Gambia Rubs Shoulders with ‘Those Who Carry Last’ at UN Conference

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By: Bully Sowe

Picture this: instead of sipping champagne and hobnobbing with the G20 elite, you find yourself jetting off to attend a conference for the “Least Developed Countries Association”. And guess who’s the star of this show? None other than the Gambia, a nation that’s been slapped with the label of “Least Developed Country”. Despite being independent for over half a century, poverty levels have soared to absurd heights, and development has taken a nosedive. And yet, here we are, with our illustrious leaders gleefully spending taxpayers’ cash to attend this pathetic pity party, all the while proud to be members of the “Association of Those Who Carry Last”.

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On a balmy Sunday, Foreign Minister Tangara travelled to the bustling city of Doha in Qatar to participate in the infamous Conference of Least Developed Countries Association which lasted for five days. A gathering of nations that have been plagued by poverty and underdevelopment. One couldn’t help but wonder – was The Gambia the least developed of them all?

Attending a conference for the “Least Developed Countries Association” is like going to a restaurant to beg for scraps from other diners’ plates while proudly wearing a bib that says “I’m with the Beggars.” It’s just downright pathetic.

As a Gambian, it is disheartening to see our country still being labelled as one of the “Least Developed Countries” in the world. Our leaders have failed us in many ways, from the lack of vision and foresight to blatant incompetence in leading our nation towards progress and prosperity. It’s time for them to take responsibility and prioritize the development of our country.

I cannot help but marvel at the sheer ridiculousness of the Least Developed Countries conference held in Doha, Qatar. What a misnomer! It’s a euphemism for the “Beggars Conference” where African leaders gather to showcase their ineptitude and incompetence.

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Among the countries that made up the list are The Gambia, Afghanistan, Laos, Yemen, Benin, Somalia, G/Bissau, South Sudan Kiribati, Tuvalu, Haiti, and Chad.

While some proponents of attending the conference may argue that it presents a unique opportunity for African leaders to gain insight into successful development strategies, it begs the question: how can they learn from others when they have failed to learn from their own mistakes? If our leaders are truly committed to progress and development, they must first acknowledge and address the root causes of poverty and underdevelopment within their own nations before seeking solutions elsewhere.

Our leaders must take accountability and work collaboratively to achieve growth and advancement. It is intolerable that decades after independence, we remain at the nadir of the development spectrum.

As the sun sets on yet another day, it’s hard not to feel a sense of despair wash over us. For 58 years now, we have been a sovereign nation, independent and free to chart our own destiny. And yet, here we are, still struggling to overcome the challenges of poverty, underdevelopment, and a lack of leadership. It’s a sad reality that we must face head-on, as a nation in need of serious soul-searching. How did we get here? Where did we go wrong?

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And more importantly, how can we finally break free from the chains that have held us back for so long? These are the questions that must be answered if we are to move forward and realize the full potential of our beloved country.

As the beggars’ conference draws to an end, I wonder what crumbs the Gambian delegation will bring back home to their starving people. Will Foreign Minister Tangara arrive with a handful of “Last-place” trophies or a gold-plated begging bowl? Either way, the outcome remains bleak for a nation that has been reduced to attending such humiliating events in search of aid.

 

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